Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Men’s water polo falls to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 12-4 in National Tournament play

Ngan Vu
Augustana College Vikings’ Joseph Addison strikes a goal during the USA Water Polo DIII National Tournament on Dec. 2. The Vikings earned a fourth-place finish at the tournament.

Yesterday, Dec. 2, the men’s water polo competed in the semi-finals round against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for the USA Men’s Water Polo Division III National Championship hosted by Augustana College. Coming off a highly competitive water polo season, the Vikings were looking to place high in the tournament. 

The team placed first in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Championship, after winning against fourth-ranked Cal Lutheran University and against Austin College. The team qualified for the national championship for a second year in a row. 

“It feels good because we accomplished what we knew we could do. Coming into the season, we knew that with the people we had coming in, as long as we took care of business, we could repeat,” senior Joseph Addison said. 

The Vikings eventually fell to the Staggs 12-4 in the competitive semi-final game, placing them in the consolation bracket for third place. After an early Claremont goal, First-Year Rhys Lomax tied the game in the first quarter. Soon after that, however, the Staggs scored three more times in the period, and despite a goal by sophomore Stevan Rasic, their effort wasn’t enough. Despite the pressure, energy was still high.

“Our team had done a good job of keeping up the energy. Since we came out, we were keeping it close pretty early on. Small mistakes on defense and offense let them creep away with it,” sophomore Oskar Bannister said post-game. “We had energy the whole time through, no matter the score.”

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps dominated the second and third quarters, out-scoring Augustana 4-1 in the two periods. Sophomore Declan Hutton scored the lone Vikings goal in that time with two seconds remaining in the second quarter. The fourth quarter provided fewer scoring opportunities as the only goal scored in the quarter was a Viking goal by Addison.

Today, the Vikings competed in the consolation bracket and placed 4th overall in the national tournament. The Vikings fell to MIT with a score of 11-9, ending their season with an overall score of 15-8, the most wins in program history. 

The game was emotional because it was the last game of Addison’s athletic career at Augustana. Addison played three seasons on the team and served as a veteran presence for the young water polo program at Augustana. 

“He’s always been positive and super dedicated to our team. He loves everyone on the team, and he just loves the sport,” Bannister said.  “He’s very much a student of the game. He puts a lot of effort inside and outside the pool into shaping our team culture and hard work.” 

Looking ahead to the upcoming off-season, the team has much to be proud of and excited about. For only a third-year program, it is an impressive feat to be competing for a national title and hosting the tournament at home. 

“I’m very fortunate to be here in this position. I came to a first-year program, and this is now our third year, and we got the chance to compete for a title,” Addison said. “I transferred here and was one of the only ones with previous varsity college experience and watching this team grow and improve exponentially each year has been something amazing.”

The national tournament brought an exciting experience for the team despite the 4th place finish. As a third-year program, hosting nationals was a significant opportunity to show off the school and the host team. Hutton said it was important that Augustana hosted this tournament.

“I’m super keen on nationals being at home,” Hutton said. “It’s big for us, the school, and our third-year program. It’s quite impressive how a third-year program has hosted nationals and made nationals.”

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